Thursday, 17 January 2013

Family break in Tasmania: part 1

We've had a lovely little holiday in Tasmania.

The tools were put away, Jason hung up his work boots and the paint brushes were left to dry out. It was our first big (that word is relative) holiday in a very long time since we moved to the Sow's Ear.

Although the devastating bushfires have affected some parts of the state, we were very much unaffected as tourists. Our trip was so much fun and we are absolutely smitten by what Tasmania has to offer. The food, the wine, the scenery, the cooler climate and the absolute ease of getting about was more than we could ever have asked for.

view from hotel looking towards North Hobart

Our holiday started when we flew into Hobart where we had a few days of general site-seeing. We based ourselves in a hotel in the CBD - it was fairly basic accommodation but its location was a winner, especially with the children in tow. The hotel was in walking distance to so many of the historical buildings and attractions we wanted to see up close and personal.

Port of Hobart

Franklin Square

We took the boys to the Maritime Museum of Tasmania which was boy's nirvana in terms of ship and submarine models. There was even a pair of percussion duelling pistols from the 1830s which also tickled their fancy. Boys!

Maritime Museum

For our Tasmania sojourn, we rented a car as recommended by everyone who has travelled to Tassie. We planned on visiting Port Arthur however it was closed due to the bushfires, which had cut off access to the historical site. It's re-opened it will be a destination for next time.

We loved visiting the Cadbury Factory in Claremont. It was on my bucket list, believe it or not. Who doesn't like a chocolate factory? You can no longer do a walk-through tour of the actual factory floor because of stricter OH&S standards, but there is a mini presentation about Cadbury and the chocolate making process. The kids loved it all and we were able to stock up on important bribing chocolate for our car trips.

Vintage Cadbury tins and other chocolate paraphernalia

MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) is a must-see in Tasmania. We drove there after visiting the Cadbury Factory as it was in close proximity. Even if you're not really into art, you must go see MONA.

Car park at MONA with the car crash art installation

chill out area with bright pink bean bags

Walked past a few arty huts on the way to the entrance

It is a world class museum nestled beautifully on the Berriedale Peninsula. The Museum challenges all your senses and you are confronted by what is classified as art and how new art and old can co-exist together under the same roof. Some of the exhibits are not suitable for children, so parental guidance is needed to negotiate those rooms. The boys enjoyed MONA and were completely fascinated by what they saw.
Outlook from MONA

poo machine

We all stood silently in front of the infamous 'Poo machine', then Son #1 said: "That's disgusting!"

"No, darling. THAT's Art," I seemed to be the most appropriate response to the more controversial exhibits.

It happened that our stay in Hobart also fell on a Saturday which meant we could experience the Salamanca Markets - gorgeous markets full of fresh produce and great craft. We ate ourselves silly and the highlight was definitely buying fresh pastries from Jakob's Pantry which has the best cherry danishes, apple turnovers and Banbury cakes. 10/10

walking towards the Salamanca Markets
After the markets we visited the nearby St David's Park and let the kids run around the graves of the first settlers...So much history everywhere!

Race you to the next grave at St David's park!
We also squeezed in a quick visit to the Huon Valley which is south-west of Hobart. It was such an easy and scenic drive. We stopped to test a couple of pinots and cuvees at a boutique winery called Home Hill. They were just about to close the doors to cater for a function, but we managed to taste some wine and bought a couple of bottles we liked to have back in the hotel room. It's all about priorities.

Vineyard at Home Hill
On the trip home we stopped in at the Apple Museum in the old apple shed because we thought the kids might like it and it's good to support these interesting little places. And no, it was not a tribute to Steve Jobs.

It's a cute little museum which has a bit of a social history tribute to apple growers and early settlers in the Huon Valley. Tasmania is not called the apple isle for nothing after seeing the apple paraphernalia in this space. The staff were also very nice and friendly, so we ended up buying some apple souvenirs at the gift you do.

The Apple Museum in the old apple shed

We ate extremely well during the Hobart leg of our trip. We stuck to the family friendly places near the Harbour and City, but Pizzarazzi was by far our favourite eating place. Don't let the 'Beautiful pizza for beautiful people' tag line put you off - we got in okay!

Lovely service and delicious crowd-pleasing pizzas. Son #2 is normally not a fan of pizza but he hoovered down the chicken and pesto pizza like it was his last meal. There were lots of great non-traditional topping selections as well as the standard traditional pizza fare. And the dessert calzones with ice cream are awesome and can feed hungry growing children.

We also ate a bit at Banjo's Bakery Cafe. It's a Tasmanian franchise of freshly baked goods and quite decent coffee. It suited us perfectly for a quick breakfast before embarking on a big day out. The breakfast pitas are good and it was an affordable option for the family.

Our only disappointment in Hobart was that we did not have enough days to enjoy more of its sites.

I just wanted to write up our Tassie holiday as it makes a good record for us to keep. My next post will be about the Launceston leg of our trip.


  1. What about all those gorgeous Modernist houses in Tassie?!

  2. Launceston was definitely the place for that Kylie. The public buildings were great examples of brutalist design. Will definitely be going back to Tassie! xx

  3. What a great trip you have had, love seeing other peoples adventures with kidlets. So good to just slow down, escape all those jobs that need to be done at home and eat constantly (without all the cleanup) mel x

  4. I'm so sad I didn't get to say hi Anita! Next time we must, ok? I'm glad you went out to Mona, it really is a shining star. And I'm so pleased you enjoyed your trip :)

    1. I know Sarah. I should've emailed you but I didn't want to impose as there are just so many of the fun and vjs clan!!! Next visit! Or else come up to Brissie!

  5. Sounds like such a wonderful trip. I can't wait to read about the next leg. I love Cadbury, so I was very envious that you got to visit the factory. And then I saw the poo machine, and I instantly stopped salivating. :)

  6. We have also just returned from a family holiday in Tassie - loved it! So much to offer, see and do.

  7. Now you know why my mum disappears to Tas to visit her other daughter, four/five times a year. Apparently Qld just doesn't cut it. Will Jason's tools still work do you think?

  8. Hi there, so glad you had a lovely time down here. I always get a kick out of people enjoying themselves on our little island. I'm following you on IG and I think I missed you by a few minutes when you were at the Richmond Market :-) Mel x

    1. Thanks for stopping by Mel. Nice to 'meet' you. You live in such a lovely place in the world. We loved Tassie! xx

  9. Sounds like an absolutely thrilling trip! Glad you posted about it, I could get a feel of it too. So, where is the next family weekend break? My drive aways are usually towards the Geelong city, amazing resorts, the famous Thirteenth Beach with its rugged coastline is absolutely mind blowing.

  10. Sounds like a fun holiday, I have never been to Tassie in all those years I lived in Melbourne. I will get there one day. Glad you all had a lovely time. ;-)

  11. how wonderful - fully deserved :) thanks for sharing - I feel like I've just had a mini vacation :) le xox

  12. looks like you had a brilliant time darl. its been about 12v years since i've been there, seeing your pictures made me put it back on my to do list! xx

  13. A fabbo post, Anita. I'm so delighted you all found it so pleasurable. And meeting you all at Richmond was brilliant. I can't wait for your return trip. J x


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